Here is a recent article on the dogs left out in the cold I had mentioned earlier.
By Clay Evans (Contact)
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Anyone who loves dogs will find the police report and witness account heart-rending:
"... they heard the dogs yelping, and it sounded like they were in a lot of pain."
"He was raising his head to sniff me but appeared to have a very difficult time breathing as both his nostrils seemed to be glued shut with mucus."
"... concerned that the male pit bull was dying and needed immediate attention."
The reports describe two pit bulls who were left in a freezing outdoor shelter in the Sugarloaf area. The dogs were in a lot of pain, suffering from hypothermia and frostbite. And Bobby, the male, was dying; veterinary staff at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley euthanized him to put him out of his misery on Jan. 13.
The 3-year-old female fared better. Lucy described by Boulder County animal-control officer Brandy Perkins as "very friendly" and shelter staff as a "sweetheart" also suffered, but she survived and on Wednesday was adopted by new guardians.
It's hard not to castigate the humans involved in the dogs' neglect. Had their caretakers responded to pleas from good Samaritans, Bobby might have lived. The authorities cited Mythe Thien Nguyen Dinh with two counts of animal cruelty.
But the story is more complicated than that.
First, it's worth asking why Dinh was charged, rather than her husband, George Heldrich. According to witness Melanie Green, it was Heldrich who repeatedly, and for days, declined to take Bobby to a vet when it was clear he needed help, and who refused to let the dogs inside, despite bone-cracking temperatures.
(Heldrich did not return a phone call seeking comment.)
But Heldrich told Perkins he didn't consider himself the dogs' true guardian. He said the couple had, as a favor, taken Bobby and Lucy in for Dinh's family, who live in Aurora, which enacted a pit-bull ban in 2006. As Heldrich allegedly told Green, "I am helping these dogs, so don't get mad at me."
"I just don't think they got the severity of the situation," Green wrote in a witness statement for the sheriff's department, "and just do not know how to take care of an animal in Colorado."
As tragic as this case is, we can learn from it:
When it's cold, pets even those with thick coats need someplace warm to go. "A dog house does not provide enough shelter," says Lisa Pedersen, director of development for HSBV.
If you suspect any animal is suffering from neglect or abuse, call animal control. "It's OK to ask us to come out for a welfare check," Pedersen says. "That's what we're here for."
Contrary to myth, a pet taken to the "pound" in Boulder isn't doomed to death. HSBV has an outstanding record, saving 85 percent of all animals that come through their doors (compared to 50-percent rates or worse at many shelters). Green, initially skeptical of calling in authorities, described Officer Perkins as "wonderful" once she got involved in this case.
Not everyone should have pets. Domestic animals depend on humans for their well-being. If you can't provide adequate care and love please don't have animals.
Breed-specific bans (usually against pit bulls) have all kinds of tragic, unnecessary consequences. Bobby and Lucy, beautiful, sweet, loving dogs, were exiled from their family because of a kind of canine "racism." Now Bobby is dead, and thousands of friendly pit bulls nationwide have been euthanized under these idiotic, reactionary laws.
Always spay or neuter your pets. There are too many of them, and not enough caring owners to go around.
So rest in peace, Bobby, and enjoy your new home, Lucy. Here's hoping your tragic tale will help other animals in need.
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